Manage the return to work process - Healthy Working Lives

Manage the return to work process

Find out what you need to do to carry out an effective return to work

​​​​​​​Prior to your employee returning from any absence you should have had contact with them to discuss planning their return to work. This includes reasonable adjustments that could be supported to facilitate a safe, healthy and sustained return to work.

When they return to work, it is recommended that on their first day back you have a return to work interview with them. This is to verify that the plans are in agreement by both parties. This should provide the opportunity for the employee to provide you with any health updates. You can also make sure that any reasonable adjustments agreed in the plan are still suitable and sufficient.

Here you can find information on getting a medical report and accessing advice on employment law. We also have a form you can use to help you with the return to work process.

Return to work form

We have created a form you can use to help you effectively manage the return to work process.

It has space to record the discussion with your employee. You can also record details of any reasonable adjustments that you have both agreed to.

Use our return to work form

Getting a medical report

To access medical information you will need your employees' explicit written consent. You should provide them with information on your compliance requirements of the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988.

Make sure they are familiar with your

  • attendance management policy
  • absence procedures.

You should be consistent when deciding if and when to obtain a medical report. You should also identify and record the purpose of obtaining a medical report.

Other things it is important to remember include

  • familiarise yourself with and follow data protection principles
  • ask only relevant questions related to the employee’s health condition and their fitness for work
  • provide the GP with relevant information about the workplace and employee to provide a full picture of the role.

We have created a guidance document and a template you can use to help you with this process.

Go to ​our accessing employee medical reports publications

Further advice on employment law

If you need advice on more complex absences and attendance issues you can access employment law information from ACAS.​